A major and influential force on other singers and the first African-American jazz singer to cross over to white audiences, Ethel Waters had a very significant career. This single disc barely scratches the surface of her productive career with 17 selections, mostly from 1925-26, 1931-35 and 1940. Surprisingly, there are only two selections from the 1920s: "Shake That Thing" and "Maybe Not At All" (which has her doing effective imitations of Bessie Smith and Clara Smith). The other high points include "Stormy Weather," "You're Lucky To Me," "Cabin In The Sky," and "Taking A Chance On Love." But this set, which jumps around chronologically, could have been a little better organized, although it works as an introduction to new listeners who are unfamiliar with Ethel Waters.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow